Nigerian professor to head global vaccine alliance

The Gavi Board has approved the appointment of Dr Muhammad Ali Pate as the Chief Executive Officer of the Vaccine…

The Gavi Board has approved the appointment of Dr Muhammad Ali Pate as the Chief Executive Officer of the Vaccine Alliance following an extensive recruitment process.Dr Pate will assume the role as of 3 August 2023, replacing Dr Seth Berkley, who will step down after 12 years leading the Alliance.

Following confirmation of his appointment, Dr Muhammad Ali Pate said: “It will be my privilege to lead Gavi and continue to support countries to scale up critical routine immunisation programmes, reach more zero-dose children, expand access to new vaccines, transform primary health care systems, and help fight outbreaks and future pandemics.”

A proven global health leader with experience at the national and international levels, Dr Pate will lead Gavi as it continues its work to support routine immunisation, outbreak response and COVID-19 vaccinations around the world.

It is envisaged that Dr Muhammad Ali Pate, who was selected following a yearlong recruitment process personally overseen by the Chair of the Gavi Board, Professor José Manuel Barroso, will bring a wealth of experience to the role. 

A medical doctor trained in both internal medicine and infectious diseases, with an MBA from Duke University in the United States, Dr Pate served as Nigeria’s Minister of State for Health between 2011 and 2013. 

In this role, he led a flagship initiative to revive routine vaccinations and primary health care, chaired a presidential taskforce to eradicate polio and introduced new vaccines into the country.

While serving as Global Director for Health, Nutrition and Population of the World Bank and Director of the Global Financing Facility at the World Bank between 2019 and 2021, he led the Bank’s US$ 18 billion COVID-19 global health response and represented the Bank on various boards, including those of Gavi, the Global Fund, CEPI and UNAIDS. 

He is currently the Julio Frenk Professor of Public Health Leadership at Harvard Chan School of Public Health and has served on several health-focused boards and expert panels in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors during his career.

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